Originally Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2012, 1:26 pm
Last Updated: Oct. 10, 2012, 7:10 pm

Illinois gives $100,000 for new Boys and Girls Club teen center in Moline

Comment on this story

By Anthony Watt, awatt@qconline.com

More photos from this shoot
Photo: Todd Mizener
Genevieve Babecki, director of development for the Boys & Girls Club of the Mississippi Valley, is all smiles while holding the ceremonial check which was presented to the club during a press conference Wednesday in Moline. Ms. Babecki is chatting with club board member Nanci Perkins. State Sen. Mike Jacobs, D- East Moline, presented the club with a $100,000 check on behalf of the State of Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. This capital funding is designated to transform the former Skills, Inc. building at 1122 5th Avenue in Moline, into the club's new teen center.

The Boys and Girls Club of the Mississippi Valley hopes to open its new teen center by early next year.

The club is renovating the former Skills Inc. building at 1122 5th Ave., Moline, into a center for teens ages 13 to 18. Children younger than 13 will continue to attend the group's existing facility.

The group hopes to have the $1.2 million upgrade ready and teens participating in activities in the building the first part of 2013, executive director Becky Clark said, adding that they hope to accommodate up to 200 teens daily.

"And help them make good choices about healthy lifestyles," she said.

Funds for the renovation have been generated through public and private donations, Ms. Clark said.

Wednesday, the club received a check for $100,000 from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, which was presented by state Sen. Mike Jacobs, D-East Moline, and state Rep. Pat Verschoore, D-Milan.

The money will be used to cover the cost of  installing a new heating and cooling system in the new building, she said, adding that the club still needs to raise about $200,000 to cover renovation costs.

Much of the first floor is finished. The walls are painted in bold reds and blues, and much of the floor is covered in a patchwork of green, purple, yellow, red and blue tile. Some of the equipment -- board games, an air hockey table and furniture -- are already there.

But the space that will hold an IH Mississippi Valley Credit Union branch still must be renovated and work on the second floor is under way.

The first floor will include a conference room, game area, computer lab, administrative offices and the IH Mississippi branch. Plans call for the second floor to be a performing arts hub featuring activities, such as dances.

While it will be a place for teens to socialize, the Boys and Girls Clubs also wants the center to provide academic help, and a chance for students to explore interests and develop job skills, officials said.

Teens will hear speakers, experiment with audio-visual projects and learn about banking through internships  at the IH Mississippi branch.

Ms.Clark said they hope eventually to add a gymnasium to the building, a roughly $1 million project. 

"If we don't have a place for young people to go," Sen. Jacobs said, "they're going to get in trouble."